Following the Rangers buyout of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Rangers have $1.9 million in cap space with a 21 player roster that includes Brendan Smith and still has to sign Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux.
If both DeAngelo and Lemieux sign for their qualifying offers of $874,125 the Rangers would have a 23 player roster that has $161,951 in cap space.
Putting Smith in Hartford would give the Rangers a total of $1.236 million in cap space.
Pending UFAs heading into this season include Chris Kreider ($4.625 million), Vlad Namestnikov ($4 million), Jesper Fast ($1.85 million) and Ryan Strome is a pending RFA ($3.1 million).
Adam Rotter: Buying out Kevin Shattenkirk allowed the Rangers to become cap compliant and thus they don’t need to make any other moves or trade from a position of low leverage and weakness. Will there be other moves made, outside of the DeAngelo and Lemieux signings? Probably, with the most likely being trades of Vlad Namestnikov or Chris Kreider. The Rangers don’t need to trade either but it’s extremely unlikely that both are with the Rangers past the trade deadline and in Kreider’s case, I think it makes sense to move him prior to the season.
Outside of Kreider deciding to stay with the Rangers for around the same salary he is currently at, it’s unlikely they will be able to match what he can get as a UFA next summer. The Rangers want to compete for a playoff spot this season but they are not yet in a position to keep pending UFAs to try and make a run like they did with Keith Yandle in 2016. Once the Rangers start training camp the focus will be on adding players, not subtracting them and certainly not subtracting core guys, like Kreider, for a third straight season. I don’t think the Rangers are stoked about the idea of moving Kreider but he’s an asset and if he’s not going to be with the Rangers long-term he should be moved now to prevent any injury or potentially diminishing his value.